Same-sex marriage (SSM) & domestic partnerships in California
2010 to now: Polls show heavy support for SSM
There are strong indicators of the increase in support for, and decrease in opposition to, same-sex marriage (SSM) in California.
One is a paper by Jeffrey Lax and Justin Phillips of Columbia University titled "Gay rights in the states: Public opinion and policy responsiveness." It appeared in the American Political Science Review. 1 This was a meta study of the level of support for same-sex marriage (SSM) in each state in the U.S. over the interval 1994 to 2009. Their findings for California indicate that suport for SSM has risen by 17 percentage points between 1994-5 and 2008-9. During the interval 2008-2009, it had achieved 50%. It would have presumably risen to slightly over 51% by the middle of 2010 when this essay was first posted and the following two polls were conducted.
Another indicator was a poll issued during 2010-JUL by Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), in anticipation of the ruling by District Judge Vaughn Walker on the constitutionality of Proposition 8. (That was the public initiative that banned SSMs in the state by a very slim majority.) Their poll was conducted during the latter half of 2010-JUN. Among their findings, they reported on the following two questions:
A third indicators is a series of polls by the Field Research Corporation. They have been sampling public opinion on SSM since 1977. At that time, only 28% of voters favored it. This support increased by 2010 to 51%, and has more than doubled the 1977 value in 2012-FEB It is now approaching a ratio of 2:1 in favor of SSM:
Field Poll results from 2003 to 2012-FEB
Results from the Field poll for 2013-FEB indicate that past trends continue: SSM approval has increased an additional two percentage points, while opposition has dropped by a further two percentage points.
A SurveyUSA poll conducted in mid 2013-MAR shows that more than two thirds of California adults support SSM! 6 That is the highest level of support that we have seen among all of the state polls.
Currently, supporters of marriage equality are fighting in the courts to have Proposition 8 declared unconstitutional. Prop. 8 was the citizen initiative that terminated same-sex marriages in California in 2008-NOV. SSM supporters have won at the federal district court level, before a three judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and before the full court. However, the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court will almost certainly produce a very close vote. If the drive towards marriage equality in California fails at the highest court in the land supporters still have a fall-back position. With the surge in support and collapse of opposition to SSM over the past few years, it would seem that a new citizen initiative in 2014 to repeal Prop. 8 and to reinstate marriage equality would be a shoo-in. If the appeal overturns Prop. 8 then loving, committed same-sex couples would be able to marry shortly afterwards. Also, the general movement towards marriage equality in the U.S. would receive a boost.
Because the nine justices of the Supreme Court are almost equally balanced between conservative and liberal judicial philosophies, we expect a 5 to 4 decision by the court in 2013-JUN. But we haven't the foggiest idea which way the Court will go.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
Portions copyright © 2010 to 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
This page translator works on Firefox,